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Snow Day Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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383 Reviews
Snow Day Winter AleSnow Day Winter Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pleasantly hoppy, Snow Day carries the subtle chocolate and caramel flavors of a new brewing malt known as Midnight Wheat. The Styrian Golding, Centennial and Cascade hops bring the backbone of hoppy bitterness to complement the roasty undertones. This beer is the deep garnet of a roasted walnut and presents a creamy tan head, floating artfully atop. Snow Day is bold and hoppy, drinkable and strong.

Added by NStLincoln on 10-14-2011

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Reviews: 383 | Ratings: 1,498
Photo of blackcompg
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from their 12oz bottle...

Appearance - Poured 2 fingers of light tan head, body is a deep translucent garnet when held to the light, otherwise looks nearly brown mahogany in a glass, keeps nearly a finger of cap throughout the session, nice foamy lacing left at the end of the session.

Smell - Slight grapefruit and pine, roasted malt, light coffee and toffee

Taste - combined flavors of roasted malts, grapefruit rind, light burnt toffee, slight floral hops, touch of anise, finishes bitter grapefruit rind and pith, touch of pine, black licorice, and maybe a coffee ground or two.

Mouthfeel - Lighter side of medium, pretty thin actually, carb is higher side of medium with lots of edges, almost feels sharp at the back of the tongue - and this somewhat affects/detracts from its drinkability.

Overall - There are some good flavors here, but at times the combination almost gives a cough syrup kind of flavor, including the slight alcohol warmth - sorta nyquil-ish. I like alot of the flavors I've mentioned above but here they don't seem to mesh all that well. Try this one for yourself, it's just not my cup of tea...er uh glass of beer.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

appearance- near opaque and almost black. some brown comes through with light. thick foamy tan head that slowly fades leaving a lacing along the top and sides.

smell- piney hops and toasted malts

taste- follows the nose, piney hops and toasted malts pretty well balanced, just doesn't strike me as anything special.

mouthfeel- light and surprisingly smooth. this is the highlight of the beer for me. lower carbonation.

overall- good beer but nothing special. worth the $8.50 i paid for the six pack to try but don't think i will be revisiting it anytime soon

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snowday pours a black color with a nice frothy head. There was smokey malty aroma. The taste had a mellow smokey malty backbone, with hints of hops near the end of each sip. Good full flavor, and great to drink on a winters night. Overall a solid, and enjoyable good quality beer.

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Photo of pkalix
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very dark brown pour. swirled to get the sediment but no head to speak of. creamy lacing on the side of the glass.
smells pine-y and forest-y with the hops dominating but only subtlely.
taste is interesting. says it's a 'new' wheat malt, but it blends with the hops and is indiscernible among the hops. the hops are not overpowering in anyway, but they do dominate taste. not very bitter at all.
the feel is very thin. someone else said "medium/big" but i cant see it.
overall, this is very decent, particularly for a six pack one can find at the local 7-11. reminds me of my now-gone christmas tree. not my preferred, but for the selection available at the store, it was probably the best pick.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle

Not what I expected from a winter brew. First taste caught me off guard. This beer at first sort of seems like a wheat beer, there's that classic wheat flavor and a sort of earthy spiciness. The beer follows up with a nice roasted caramel malt and even a touch of a roasted flavor. But the focus of the beer is the hops. It drinks closer to IPA then anything. A ton of floral notes and a nice fresh citrus. A really choppy aftertaste and feel. Not bitter for a hopped up beer. I found the feel to be a tad thin and sort of spicy. A great winter beer that I think is closest to SN celebration ale.

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Photo of Sark
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- pours with finger and a half of frothy head with great retention, deep dark brown color

Smell- toasted maltiness with light caramel notes

Taste- bold roasted, bitter but hidden well by the malts. Very little hop noticed

Mouthfeel- medium/big feel, lingers on the mid-tounge

Overall- lives up to it's name, this robust brew is meant for staying indoors when the snow is out

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Photo of kshizzle101
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Black or very dark brown in color with a once inch tan head

S - smells of caramel, bread, nuts, chocolate, and some hops as well

T - A lot of caramel, a lot of roasted malt flavor as well. Chocolate in the aftertaste. For this style of ale, there is perhaps a little too much bitterness. The only reason for a 4 and not 5.

M - A little overcarbonated - takes away from some of the flavor I believe

Overall - A good little beer that in my opinion, is a few tweaks away from being very, very good.

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Photo of Donnelj
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass the color is nearly black with almost no light penetration. Head was about a finger of beige with fairly nice lacing as it dissipated slowly. The smell was not what I expected. Very hoppy but lacking the maltiness portrayed by the color and head. The beer has a nice feel in the mouth with a crisp hoppy finish. Leaves a slightly flowery citric aftertaste. Almost like grapefruit. The beer is surprisingly light and drinkable considering its dark color. Overall another excellent product by New Belgium.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium goblet.
Pitch black pour, with a nice thick cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Piney hops, dark malt or wheat note
Taste-Dark toasted wheat or malt, citric piney hops, subtle caramel, and a soft underlying roastiness that melds well with the hops all the wat to the finish. Subtle, tasty, and well-balanced. Good for after snow-shoveling, or just watching the snow fall.

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Photo of chperry
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice surprise in a winter ale. Nice malty flavor with plenty of hop finish for balance. Very drinkable. I would like to have seen a little more body in the head. My only complaint is the smell was a little metallic. Overall this is a great beer to drink while grilling on the deck on a cold day.

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Photo of bmwats
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Very dark brown, or black. Pours about a 2 finger, frothy, brown-white head. Dry, slow, inconsistent disintegration. Slight beer spider web lacing.

S: Light roasted malt, pecan, a little butterscotch, and basil. Does seem to have something of a soapy characteristic though.

T: Lightly roasted malt character, with bitter pecan shells, a little bittersweet black licorice, and an indistinct savory spice.

M: Comes across as light, but very full. The kind of character that filters up into the nasal cavity. A little steely bitterness lingers throughout. Liquor-y.

D: Easy drinking.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark hue, with a big frothy head, and some nice lacing. Nose is roasted malt tones with nuts, sweet and savory. Roasted malt with bitter notes and bittersweet components enhanced with a bit of spice. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark mahogany brown amber with a finger of light tan head with great retention and lacing. Nice aroma of piney hops, roasted malt, somewhat earthy with a hint of holiday spices. Interesting, unexpected flavor dominated by piney and grassy hops, light toasted malt. Flavor is deceptively light, but displays a fairly complex range of herbal and grassy hop flavors with a light sweet malt base. Medium bodied with a decent creaminess. This is a different approach to an winter ale leaning towards herbal hop flavors. I liked this quite a bit.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep amber in color, with a moderate white head, which retains somewhat well, soon collapsing into scattered islands of foam. The lacing is small and scattered, with slight slow-rising carbonation.

Aroma: Lots of dark malts, particularly roasted barley and chocolate. There are also fairly prominent pine tar hops.

Taste: Opens with fairly aggressive pine tar hops, as well as abundant roasted and chocolate malt. There is a little sweet pale malt as well, but the hops and roasted malt carry the taste. Towards the close of the taste, the roasted barley notes intensify a bit. Finishes with a lingering pine tar hop flavor.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A bit more hoppy and less malty than I care for, but certainly very well-made. This beer proved popular at a recent holiday party, even among non-craft beer drinkers.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom twelve-ounce brown glass long-neck bottle, with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours pitch black, white foam, little bubbles. Strong pine aroma. Tree like. Rich malt open then a pleasant light layer of hops. Smooth finish. The bittering contributes but in a nice supporting way. Some coffee chocolate malt taste. Very nicely balanced and behaved black ale.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

More winter brew fun!! Poured into an English pint glass from a 12oz bottle. Freshness date is written as "03/MAR/13."

Produces a darkened color with brownish-amber tones into the glass, complete with a rather fantastic 3 finger head. Even when the head dies down really fast, there's still a generous foamy ring at the top. Bubbles are arranged all around the bottom and at the edges, and lacing remains on the edges. It looks like pretty much every one of these winter warmer releases these breweries have been churning out, but definitely looks like it has chocolate undertones this time, as opposed to blackcurrant or mollasses.

The aroma starts out with a surprisingly fresh hop texture alongside dark, albeit not so strong malts. There's not as much of the chocolate or caramel flavors as advertised just yet, but there is a brown sugary undertone that smells mellow and not too overpowering. Not too much alcohol overall. What sadly gets me is the finish, which is yeasty in an almost medicinal, slightly overbaring way that smells awfully "skunked," and not in the best sense! Let's hope that the flavor is a little different here.

The first taste turns out to luckily be a far better experience, but what seems to be lacking yet again are any strong chocolate or caramel flavors! On the other hand, it's got some strong coffee malty aromas going for it, often resembling the kona variety quite well. There is a bit of a surprisingly grassy finish as well, although it doesn't seem to go far beyond that. Not too many spices I can pick out here other than pepper and vinegar, but not as bad as you might expect. The flavor is pretty heartfelt, but I'm disappointed with the body, as it is a bit too watery and not carbonated enough, which in turn produces a rather thinned experience that increases the alcohol presence and weakens the flavor.

This is one of the better winter ales I've had recently, and it is easy to drink, but it is lacking on characteristics that could otherwise truly excite me about it. The coffee/pepper combo is a neat twist on the style, but I do wish it would be thicker, as I find no characteristic in a beer more comforting. Worth a try, especially with the holidays up and coming.

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Photo of babayaga
4.26/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a long tulip.

Appearance- Head is tan, craggy and laces well. Stays covered on the way down. Body is ruby brown and clear.

Aroma- Big pine, toastiness, light sweet malt.

Flavor- The play of roasty and bitter hops flavors is really enjoyable. tobacco.

Mouthfeel- Light mouthfeel, soft carbonation.

A snow day on a day where I'm literally staying home because of a blizzard. I find the beer very enjoyable, the lightness and bitter flavors make it a great, "sessionable" beer. Will definitely have more often.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger tan head, some lacing, clear ruby around the edges

S-Lots of malt, caramel and roasted, balanced with lots of spices, nutmeg and earthy notes.

T-Not quite balanced, but sweet to start, earthy malty tones to start. Ends with slight bitterness. Rye spiceness.

M-Medium bodied, chewy, some carbonation.

O-A decent winter beer, the only real detraction is the lack of balance.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, dark yellow brown almost black with a foamy grey head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: pungent citrus hops over almost burnt bread, coal

T: a smoky character comes out immediately followed by bitter hops, little sweetness, flavors of burning hardwood smoke, beechwood, tons of bittering hops

M: medium bodied leaving a nice smoky aftertaste, proper carbonation

O: kind of a unique brew, smoke flavor well balanced by hop profile, worth trying if you are into those tastes

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Photo of schoolboy
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We had several bottles of this earlier this week, but today they had some on tap at the bar at Beaver Creek. In the bottle, the beer was somewhat weak, but on tap it worked well. The beer even looked better.

Just about every aspect worked better than the bottle, and the tap version is recommended, unlike the bottle.

It still was not an over the top American style, but it was a lot closer, and the balance was very nice. I could have had a few, but they were a little pricey.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with best by date of 03Mar13 poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- A semi-aggressive pour results in a 1-1/2 finger tan head. Dark brown body reminds me of coca-cola. When held to light, it gets maroon, clean, with moderate carbonation. Retention is decent and rings are awesome.

S- It's really hoppy at the crack of the cap. Pretty organic. Chocolate and roasted malts really open up with time.

T- Initial grainy malts are cereal-like. Hops are subdued compared to aroma. Roasted malts with light chocolate. Hints of almost citric hops, especially at finish. Interesting combination.

M- Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Slight impression of a grainy feel.

O- not bad at all. Not quite as expected. At purchase I thought it would be more of a traditional winter warmer. After research I was expecting something a little hoppier. Maybe it suffered from travel/shelf time? Solid beer, just doesn't set itself apart from the recent glut of top tier black ales.

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Photo of n2185
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brown with two fingers of khaki head that fades into a frothy ring with decent lacing.

S: Slight roasted malt aromas up front with sweet chocolate and nutty notes following. Citrus rind and earthy pine hop aromas bring up the finish.

T: Roasted malts are a bit more present here with bitter chocolate and some charred notes. Earthy pine hop flavors bring up the finish with a light bitterness.

M: Body is on the heavier side of medium with moderate carbonation, which goes well with the hoppy characters.

O: A good beer overall and one of the better winter seasonals out there. It seems more like a hoppy brown ale than black ale, though. A nice beer to pick up in cheap 12-packs for the winter.

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Photo of AmitC
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it at a tasting. Pours dark colored to light black . Slight tan colored head. Not enough lacing.

A very good nose, that is extremely hoppy. Hops smell like some wild weeds in the forest. Very distinct smell. Some roasted malts.

Nice taste as well. Hops leave their presence but not overtly bitter. Good malt presence as well. Some winter black ale typical taste is also observed.

Mouth feel: Light to Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and no astringency.

Good brew overall. Try once.

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Photo of minterro
3.87/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a sixer at meijers after trying it at Crunchys during their New Belgium tap take over.

A&S: mid black colored beer semi translucent. Spiderwebing like lacing from a tan head that stays in a thin layer throughout. I would say the smell is probably the best thing about this beer, nice piney and sweet maltiness to it.

T&M: Kinda on the bland side in comparison to some of the other times I've tried this one (the other two bottle and at crunchys). Kinda bland upfront but the finish is more on the piney and bitter, but not all that dry. Pretty lively carbonation, medium to low body.

overall: Its pretty good, nothing that I would say go out and find, but one of New Belgium's better beers.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Although just purchased in Pineville SC tonight, just noticed the best before date on the bottle and I am reviewing this past its prime, so will update if I ever find a more recent bottle. The hops promised in the description have mellowed to the point that the aroma is almost absent, and the caramelized malts are predominant in the taste. Pours a beautiful dark but clear amber brown with decent head and nicely creamy mouthfeel. Bittering hops are still present and leave a satisfying finish that is not overpowering, but flavourful.

Definitely a beer I would purchase again if I can find a fresh(er) bottle!

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A: Black with a tan, half finger head that turns into big bubbles. Decent lacing.

S: A hoppy onslaught.

T: Grapefruit, caramel, ginger with light chocolate and coffee background. Smooth, creamy.

M: Light to medium. Not much carbonation.

O: A pleasant seasonal brew. The ginger adds some holiday spice.

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Snow Day Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,498 ratings.
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